I had an epiphany last month while we were closing M: Most of the misspelled names I catch while proofing are seemingly easy ones.
It makes sense if you think about it. I reviewed 30 Rock actress Jane Krakowski’s album, and you better believe I double-checked her last name before turning it in. But when Sara Bareilles mentioned her first producer, Eric Rosse, during our recent interview, it didn’t occur to me until my last read-through to verify his spelling. I heard “Ross,” so I wrote that without a second thought. (Meanwhile, every time my eyes scanned over “Bareilles,” I was making sure I hadn’t transposed the e and the i.)
I find more last names misspelled, but oddly enough they’re often ones also used as first names: Elliott/Elliot, Philip/Phillip, Stacy/Stacey, Damon/Damen, and of course, my personal peeve, Neal/Neil. Since “creative” spellings are becoming a trend in baby naming, I predict even more headaches for copy editors in the years to come.
So, the takeaway: Check every name during proofing, no matter how obvious. And give those deceptively simple names a little extra attention.